6 Things Every Design School Student Should Know
October 10, 2013
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Design school can have an alluring "fairy tale" effect on budding designers. But if you want to be well prepared, you'll need more than a supply list and creative ideas. Review these six things that every design student should know, and you'll be prepared mentally as well as physically for school.
1. Expect to Do Work Over
Nothing is ever really finished—even after it's finished. Don't get upset over fixing, rearranging or revising your work. It's supposed to be this way. The more you revise, the better you'll get and the fewer revisions your professional work will require. Revising slowly trains your "design eye."
2. Embrace Design Constraints
"Only use two colors." "Horizontal layouts only." "At least one large figure graphic." Design constraints may make you feel like your hands are tied, but they have their place. When you're not allowed to do whatever you want, you're forced to think outside of the box. Instead of the typical, you'll create something really interesting—the atypical. Without design constraints, you probably won't push yourself, so embrace them.
3. Fail Often
Don't fail your classes, but let yourself make mistakes. Design school is the time to learn and explore. School allows a creative freedom you may never have again—not even in the workforce. Embrace every opportunity to try something new and don't be afraid to make mistakes.
4. Get Out of Your Head
Get out into nature. Go for a walk. Play. Have fun. You never know where your next idea is going to come from, but it probably won't happen when you're sitting in the studio. Get a hobby—a stress reliever. Some designers get great ideas while washing dishes, taking a shower or baking cupcakes. What's your stress-reliever hobby? If you don't have one, find one. You'll need it when you have a creative block.
5. Don't Work for Free
You'll receive opportunities for freelance work and internships—some of which can be included in your resume and portfolio—but don't work for free. Doing so devalues your own work and the work of others in the industry. Just because you're a designer in training doesn't mean your work doesn't have value.
6. Find a Printer
Even as a student, you'll probably be doing just as much printing as a professional designer, so it's imperative to find a trustworthy printer. Scope out the quality and price on everything from paper sizes to binding to dry mounting. Remember that binding and dry mounting take extra time—sometimes a whole day. So if your work needs to be bound or mounted, get it to the printer early. You don't want to be one of those of students complaining about the printer not finishing your work on time.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons